My wife and I patiently waited in the terminal to board the Caribbean Princess in Houston on our 21 day transcontinental cruise. Scanning the departing crowd of largely 60 or older, I became convinced that this cruise would most appeal to the sedentary needs of this “over the hill” set. I logically reasoned that they were the age group who had more time each day to seek rest and pampered, easy living. With an abundance of long, sea days and a plethora of “eager to please” service attendants on board this ship, the opportunities for being doted on would certainly not be lacking. I would thus assume that our need for staying physically active in travel might not be easily accommodated.
A penchant for restless pacing of the ship, however, convinced me to take another look at these assumptions. Classic rock blasted from the top deck stage as hippie-like couples got up to dance. Walking paths filled with sporty garbed passengers, intently completing their scheduled laps. The spa buzzed with golden aged men and women, busily inquiring about fitness and strength training packages available. A tennis court for a game called Pickleball teemed with competitively interested seniors. It soon became obvious to me that there would be plenty of opportunity for us to stay in shape on those long, sea days, in the company of similarly minded individuals.
For many on board, then, I sensed that transcontinental cruising had been viewed as a lifestyle commitment to active, world travel. Talking with strangers aboard would become a chance to become educated about new places to visit. Planning a self-excursion off the boat fulfilled a need to escape from the “cattle car” atmosphere of a tour bus. Inevitably then, we would settle in and learn to enjoy our well-deserved freedom in long distance cruising.